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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 7, 2015

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DNR spring wildlife and fisheries rules hearing to be held April 13

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release was previously issued to statewide media.

MADISON - People interested in natural resources management in Wisconsin have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management at the 2015 spring wildlife and fisheries rules hearing. The hearings will be held in each county [PDF] beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 13.

This year there are 112 questions that cover a broad array of statewide and local proposed rules changes for state hunting, trapping and fishing rules, as well as advisory questions from the state Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Conservation Congress. The complete 2015 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spring rules hearings questionnaire [PDF] is available for review online or at local DNR service centers. Individuals without internet access may be able to view the online questionnaire by visiting their local library.

County residents also have the option to run for a seat on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, or elect other delegates from their county to represent their county views regarding natural resources on the Conservation Congress. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is officially recognized as the only advisory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to represent their interests on natural resources issues on a local and statewide level to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources.

Individuals will also have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation ideas or issues to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process.

Given the large number of questions this year, people interested in attending the hearings are encouraged to review the questionnaire online prior to the April 13 hearings and should arrive at the hearing location early to register before the hearings begin at 7 p.m.

The fisheries questions relate to season, bag limit, and length limit regulations, including:

Wildlife questions include:

Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening's questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as advisory. The 2015 spring rules hearing questionnaire [PDF] is available by searching the DNR website at for keywords "Spring Hearings."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR/Conservation Congress liaison, 608-266-0580 or Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773



Proposal to promote panfish populations on 100 lakes pitched to the public

MADISON -- A proposal to pump up panfish populations on 100 lakes statewide will be put before attendees at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Spring Fish and Wildlife Public Hearing on April 13.

A bluegill in the hand
WDNR Photo

The proposal, which will be presented at hearings held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual meetings, focuses on lakes that show high growth potential for panfish but may be suffering from heavy harvests. Jon Hansen, DNR fisheries biologist, said the proposed regulations represent one important element of a larger panfish management plan now under development.

"Anglers and other stakeholders who attended a series of statewide meetings over the last few years indicated they do not wish to see sweeping changes to panfish regulations statewide, but there is support for improvements on select lakes," Hansen said. "Anglers have expressed concern about the declining size of their catch on some lakes. We're focusing on about 100 of those lakes where we know stunting from limited food is not the issue. Instead, populations of bluegills, crappie and other panfish are most likely suffering from concentrated harvest of the largest fish."

Panfish experience a rapid increase in size up until age 6 or 7, when they typically measure about 8 inches. Bluegills 9 to 10 inches can be as old as 13 or 14 years.

However, concentrated fishing pressure on some lakes currently prevents most panfish from surviving beyond age 4, when they measure between 5 and 6 inches. For anglers interested in a meal, the difference of a few years and a few inches means a significant difference in fillet weight. It takes 25 6-inch fish to produce a pound of bluegill fillets but only six fish that are 8 inches long to produce the same meal.

As a result, within a few years of implementing the proposed rules, anglers could expect to see disproportionately large gains in fillet weight that would increase the amount of fish for the pan even with reduced bag limits.

Hansen said the department is asking spring hearing attendees to approve use of three regulatory options, which will be evaluated on different lakes over the next seven years to optimize biological effectiveness and angler satisfaction. Attendees will be asked their opinion on the overall idea but also will be asked to provide more detailed input on specific lakes.

The daily bag limit regulation proposals are:

The proposed rules follow three years of angler surveys, focus groups and more than 30 public meetings. The package up for consideration also includes a detailed evaluation plan with the rules set to end in 10 years (2026) after which bag limits on the 100 lakes will return to 25 panfish per day unless permanent changes are made. If the proposed rules move forward, they would take effect for the 2016-2017 season.

To learn more about the proposal, search the DNR website,, for keywords "Spring Hearings." The website provides a list of proposals for consideration including the panfish package. For those who cannot attend the spring fish and wildlife public hearings, written comments on any proposals may be submitted before April 13 to Kate Strom Hiorns, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT : Jon Hansen, DNR fisheries biologist, 608-266-6883,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,



Public asked to consider simplified inland trout regulations

MADISON -- A color coded system that simplifies inland trout regulations will be up for consideration by those attending the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Spring Fish and Wildlife Public Hearing on April 13.

trout fishing
Proposed rules are aimed at increasing fishing opportunities on inland trout streams.
WDNR Photo

The proposed rules, which will be presented at hearings held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress annual meetings, increase fishing opportunities for anglers on Wisconsin's 13,000 miles of trout streams. Scot Stewart, district fisheries supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the proposal received a positive reception at 10 public meetings held statewide last fall.

"Through careful management and angler support, trout populations have improved statewide since the rules were last updated in 2003," Stewart said. "During the 2014 public meetings, anglers expressed enthusiasm for the new rules because they will continue to support healthy trout populations while providing more quality fishing opportunities."

Since 2011, DNR has held 31 public meetings, conducted three surveys including a survey of lapsed trout anglers and convened additional task force meetings focused on trout. The resulting proposal would reduce the number of special trout regulations from more than 40 to 12. The proposal also would create more uniformity of regulations on trout streams and within small geographic areas.

The proposed system also would use color-coding resembling a stoplight to guide anglers. Under the system:

Changes also are proposed to the season dates for inland trout fishing. The 2015 early catch and release season runs from March 7 to April 26 with a five-day closure before the regular season fishing opener on May 2. The proposal would extend the opening of the early catch and release season to the first Saturday in January and would run to the day before the regular fishing opener with no five-day closure period. The fall season would extend from the current Sept. 30 to Oct. 15. Extending the season in the fall will provide more opportunities for catching or harvesting trout without affecting spawning or generating user conflicts along streams.

If the proposed rules move forward, they would take effect for the 2016-2017 season. For those who cannot attend the spring fish and wildlife public hearings, written comments on any proposals may be submitted before April 13 to Kate Strom Hiorns, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or

To learn more about the proposal, search the DNR website for keywords "Spring Hearings." The website provides a list of proposals for consideration including the trout package.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scot Stewart, DNR district fisheries supervisor,, 608-273-5967; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084



Now is a good time to build and install bat houses

Join DNR biologists for an informational bat chat April 23

MADISON--With winter nearly over, bats will emerge from hibernation and return to their summer roost sites--this makes early spring a good time to construct a bat house.

"Building a bat house is a great way to provide important habitat during a critical time for bats," said Heather Kaarakka, bat roost monitoring coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Encouraging bats to take up residence on your property is a great way to help reduce forest and garden pest populations."

Those interested in building a bat house on their property can follow the instructions and guidelines in the department's "Building a Bat House [PDF]" handbook. This guide provides information regarding necessary supplies and materials, and also includes key design, location and mounting specifications.

Wisconsin's four cave bat species are listed as threatened, due to their vulnerability to white-nose syndrome. The bats' threatened status makes it illegal to begin the process of excluding bats from buildings from June 1 to Aug. 15, when bats may seek to roost in attics, barns and other warm places to give birth and nurse their young.

According to Kaarakka, it is important to begin the eviction and exclusion process now to avoid any conflicts with maternity season. Bat pups are born in early June and are unable to fly for several weeks. Separating a mother from her pups will cause the pups to die, and frantic mothers searching for their pups often find themselves in living spaces.

It's important that people who do not want bats in their buildings follow the necessary steps to safely and humanely remove bats and seal off bat entry points by June 1. DNR's Bat Exclusion guide [PDF] provides instructions for excluding bats from an attic or other structure. Those who do not want to take the exclusion steps themselves can contact professional bat exclusion experts.

Volunteer to monitor summer roosts

In addition to habitat creation, people can also join the department's roost monitoring project. When you have selected suitable habitat and constructed a bat house, you can monitor the roost entrance in June and July and count bats as they emerge. For more information on bat roost monitoring or to join the program, visit the Wisconsin Bat Program (exit DNR) page.

Report known bat roost locations

The DNR conducts a number of bat monitoring projects in order to better understand population trends and health status. Information on location and size of bat colonies is critical to the success of these surveys, says Kaarakka.

If you know of large numbers of bats in caves, mines, barns, bridges, churches, schools or other buildings, please contact the Wisconsin Bat Program at or 608-266-5216.

Online bat chat April 23

Join Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts for an online chat Thursday, April 23 at noon and learn more about bats in Wisconsin. Search the DNR website,, for keyword "chat" to submit questions and view responses from DNR experts. Here, you can also view past chats and sign up to receive email notifications.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Kaarakka, DNR roost monitoring coordinator, 608-266-2576; Paul White, DNR mammal ecologist, 608-267-0813



Homeowners urged to consider treating urban ash trees for emerald ash borer this spring

MADISON -- Emerald ash borer is currently the most damaging threat to trees in Wisconsin, according to state forestry officials, who say the pest could kill more than 99 percent of ash trees in the state.

That would account for more than 725 million trees and make up more than 20 percent of the state's urban forests.

"Many people don't notice that their ash tree has emerald ash borers until it is too infested to save, so it is important to examine your ash trees early and often," says Bill McNee, Forest Health Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Now is a good time to consider insecticide protection, because the treatments are usually done between mid-April and mid-May once leaves begin to return."

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 7 photos

View the slideshow on emerald ash borer.

Foresters recommend that homeowners consider insecticide treatments if they have ash trees in a quarantined county, or outside a quarantine county but within 15 miles of a known infestation [PDF] (exit DNR). Elsewhere in Wisconsin, the risk of trees being infested is lower, but homeowners may still want to treat their trees.

EAB quarantine counties
EAB quarantine counties
WDNR Photo

"Location isn't the only consideration when deciding to treat," McNee says. "For example, the treatments are not practical for woodlot ash trees and need to be repeated every one to three years for the rest of the tree's life." For more information people can check out a UW-Extension publication "Is My Ash Tree Worth Treating for Emerald Ash Borer [PDF]" (exit DNR).

What homeowners should do

If EAB has been found in your local area or you see any of the signs or symptoms of EAB infestation (exit DNR) in ash trees, look for information online or seek advice from a tree care professional. People can search for a certified arborist on the Wisconsin Arborist Association's website (exit DNR). Other businesses also conduct EAB treatments.

"Some of the insecticide products can be applied by a homeowner and others must be applied by a certified professional," McNee says. "Done properly and at the right time, odds are good that you will be able to protect a tree that is currently in good health." Information about insecticide options is on the Wisconsin emerald ash borer website (exit DNR). People who purchase an insecticide and treat their own trees, should follow the product label instructions to apply it properly and safely.

Only ash trees need to be protected against EAB, and not all ash trees are worth treating. Mountain ash and prickly ash do not need protection because they are not attacked by EAB.

Consider the following when deciding whether or not to treat your ash tree.

Signs and symptoms of EAB infestation:

People can stay informed and be on the lookout for emerald ash borer by following these suggestions on the Wisconsin Emerald Ash Borer website (exit DNR). Know where the pest has already been found and look for the signs and symptoms of infestation. Watch ash trees for the following:

Information about EAB, including the known locations of EAB, signs and symptoms of infestation, and UW-Extension treatment factsheets are available online at: (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill McNee - Wisconsin DNR Forest Health Specialist, Plymouth (920-893-8543,



Catch the field trip fervor with Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine's April issue

MADISON - This year, 151 amazing adventures await you when you catch the Natural Resources Foundation field trip fervor. The cover story in Wisconsin Natural Resources' April issue, "Get up close to wildlife and experience the wild life on a field trip," previews the trips that are on tap April through November.

April 2015 Wisconsin Natural Resources

Spring is here and birds are bountiful in stories such as "A springtime affair" following the annual return of two breeding Canada geese, and "Wisconsin Traveler" with a focus on the Great Wisconsin Birdathon. Try a Hummingbird Cake for humans and find a treat for hummingbirds as well.

Learn about the Young Forest Partnership program in "A tree-mendous transformation." Find the link between bison and butterflies in a "Beauty and the Beast" kind of tale, "Bison and butterflies."

"Finding hope under the surface" eloquently explains how underwater photography is educating, inspiring and healing troubled teens in Wisconsin.

Follow the success of long-term teamwork in "Mississippi River monitoring."

The get your paddles ready because you'll be heading out the door after reading "The Flambeau River State Forest: A diamond in the rough in any season." "Wisconsin's newest island destination" takes you to Plum Island, a large island with a lighthouse and some late 19th century buildings that has finally been open to the public. Getting to Plum Island takes some work but it's nothing that a kayak can't handle.

In time for Arbor Day, the "Back in the Day" column takes a look at early efforts in the state to slow the wind and help conserve soil by planting trees. Another important April date, Earth Day, is highlighted in "Celebrating Earth Day heroes every day."

The April issue also includes the 2015 Wisconsin Hunting and Trapping Seasons, the 2015 Fishing Forecast tabloid, an insert highlighting tips to prepare for safe boating and a Preventing Wildfires brochure.

WNR magazine also has an e-newsletter "Previews and Reviews" to keep our readers informed about upcoming stories and past articles. Sign up to receive the e-newsletter and other email updates.

(Under the Publications box, select Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine).

Not a subscriber? Here's what you are missing:

Already a subscriber? Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year. Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke, 608-261-8446.



EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Online chat focuses on upcoming spring hearings

The 2015 Spring Hearings are scheduled for April 13 in all 72 counties starting at 7 p.m. Spring Hearings provide individuals interested in natural resources management an opportunity to provide input by non-binding vote and testimony on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin.

Learn more about the spring hearing process and the proposed rule changes in an online chat at noon Thursday, April 9. To participate, visit the DNR home page,, and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts." You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page,, by clicking the "Ask the Experts Chat" box on the top of the page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact(s): Kari Lee-Zimmermann, 608-266-0580; Trish Nitschke, 920-360-3252



Workshop aims to help landowners learn about managing land for migratory birds

Grosbeaks Galore: Birds on Your Landscape May 9

MADISON--This year's Grosbeaks Galore: Birds on Your Landscape workshop will be held May 9 in Two Rivers, Wis., and attendees will learn how to manage their land for migratory birds and protect key habitat.

Rose-breasted grosbeak
Rose-breasted grosbeak.
Thomas Schultz Photo

Each spring and fall, millions of birds sweep through the Great Lakes region and make pit stops at a variety of sites throughout Wisconsin on their way to breeding grounds as far north as Greenland. These "stopover" sites provide birds with critical food and shelter during migration, and habitat loss can pose a threat to the health and stability of migratory bird populations in the region.

The workshop will be held at the Woodland Dunes Nature Center, 3000 Hawthorn Ave., Two Rivers beginning at 8:30 a.m. A $20 admission fee includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. To register, visit grosbeaksgalore (exit DNR).

"The Grosbeaks Galore workshop is a great way to learn how to attract migratory birds to your property," said Kim Grveles, DNR bird ecologist and workshop coordinator. "We've got an excellent lineup of speakers, exhibits, field tours and more--anyone with an interest in helping Wisconsin's migratory birds will enjoy this workshop."

This year's keynote speaker, Rob "the Yard MD" Zimmer, is a weekly nature columnist with the Appleton Post-Crescent. To learn more about Rob's work, visit (exit DNR). Other speakers include Grveles, Bill Volkert, a retired DNR naturalist and educator at Horicon Marsh, and Lucas Olson, DNR Natural Heritage Site Program coordinator.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to participate in field tours with a number of bird and habitat experts. Topics include:

This year's annual Bird Breakfast and Migration Celebration will be held in conjunction with the Grosbeaks Galore Workshop, and more information can be found at (exit DNR). A $20 admission fee includes the Bird Breakfast and all workshop activities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT; Kim Grveles, DNR bird ecologist, 608-264-8594


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 07, 2015

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